Reports | October 09, 2012 20:09

Bilbao: Carlsen wins again, now tied for first place with Caruana

In Tuesday's seventh round of the Masters Final in Bilbao Magnus Carlsen won again. The Norwegian grandmaster beat Francisco Vallejo, and now shares first place with Fabiano Caruana, who drew his game with Sergey Karjakin. The encounter between Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand also ended in a draw. Wednesday is a rest day.

Vallejo resigns his game against Magnus Carlsen | Photos courtesy of the Masters Final

Event 5th Grand Slam Masters Final | PGN via TWIC
Dates October 8-13, 2012
Location Bilbao, Spain
System 6-player round robin
Players Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Vishy Anand, Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana, Paco Vallejo
Rate of play

90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 60 minutes for the remaining moves with a 10-second increment

Extra Players are not allowed to agree to a draw without the arbiter’s permission. In case both players request it to him, the arbiter will make his decision after consulting with the technical assistant. The football scoring system is used: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss.

He had a bit of a slow start in Brazil, but in Bilbao the world's number one needed just two rounds to make up for that. After beating Vallejo in 43 moves on Tuesday, Carlsen caught Caruana in first place as the Italian drew his game with Karjakin. During the rest day, the "two Cs" have 12 points which is 3 more than Levon Aronian. The Masters Final is starting to look a lot like the 2011 edition, when Carlsen also made a comeback in the second half (and emerged as the winner). 

Carlsen now joint first with Caruana

Contrary to what the official press release writes, Carlsen did not "raise" the "so-called 'Winawere variant' of the french opening." Instead, the Norwegian avoided the heavy Winawer theory by taking on d5 on the 4th move, transposing into the Exchange Variation. He said:

I wanted to avoid the most theoretical lines and besides I think it's possible to fight for a small advantage even in this variation.

The early middlegame started quietly, but soon thing got more complicated when White directed his pieces towards the opponent's king. Vallejo got into slight timetrouble and then made two inaccuracies which decided the game.

PGN string

The final phase of the game Carlsen vs Vallejo

Caruana dropped two points as he couldn't break through Karjakin's defensive setup in a Berlin Ending. The Russian GM said something typical of top level chess these days:

It's one of the most critical lines in the Berlin. Of course I analysed it a lot but as there are many lines, I could not remember which was the best line for Black. 

PGN string

Did Vishy Anand ever play seven draws in a row? We'll leave that to our readers to sort out, but it does start to look like a personal record for the Indian.

Update: as Sigvat notes, the first eight games of the 1995 PCA World Championship Match Kasparov-Anand were all drawn. But in a tournament?

We'd like to add that it doesn't really say much: many top players play tournaments with lots of draws these days. But OK, at least the "fans" have something to talk about...

PGN string

Aronian said about the game:

I thought I had pressure, I was happy to receive this position. I think I was not playing accurately and as in previous encounters with Vishy, if you don't play accurately, that's his strength, he neutralizes very well.

I had the feeling I had to go for g4 in many places, but I couldn't work it out. Somehow Black is in time, in my calculations. I thought perhaps it's a better idea to slowly put pressure on my opponent but maybe I went too slow at times.

Wednesday is a rest day in Bilbao. At the press conference Vallejo said that there would be a football match in the morning. On Twitter Karjakin mentioned that he was planning to join "if he didn't oversleep", while Aronian had something else in mind.

If the weather is good I'll try and go see one of the beaches here, maybe even swim. I know you guys don't swim right now, but for somebody born in a cold climate it's alright!

Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Schedule & results

Round 1 24.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 6 08.10.12 17:00 CET
Anand 1-1 Vallejo   Vallejo 1-1 Anand
Aronian 3-0 Karjakin   Karjakin 1-1 Aronian
Caruana 3-0 Carlsen   Carlsen 3-0 Caruana
Round 2 25.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 7 09.10.12 17:00 CET
Vallejo 0-3 Carlsen   Carlsen 3-0 Vallejo
Karjakin 0-3 Caruana   Caruana 1-1 Karjakin
Anand 1-1 Aronian   Aronian 1-1 Anand
Round 3 26.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 8 11.10.12 17:00 CET
Aronian 1-1 Vallejo   Vallejo - Aronian
Caruana 1-1 Anand   Anand - Caruana
Carlsen 1-1 Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Round 4 28.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 9 12.10.12 17:00 CET
Caruana 3-0 Vallejo   Karjakin - Vallejo
Carlsen 1-1 Aronian   Carlsen - Anand
Karjakin 1-1 Anand   Caruana - Aronian
Round 5 29.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 10 13.10.12 16:30 CET
Vallejo 1-1 Karjakin   Vallejo - Caruana
Anand 1-1 Carlsen   Aronian - Carlsen
Aronian 1-1 Caruana   Anand - Karjakin

Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 7 standings (football)


Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 7 standings (classical)


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


bondegnasker's picture

Once again, Carlsen displayed his shallow understanding by ignorantly winning a clearly drawn position. Is there no end to this guy's mediocrity?

Septimus's picture


S3's picture

The only thing mildly entertaining is your strange sense of humor.

Guillaume's picture

What can I tell you... You chose the wrong horse to hate. This one wins most of the races, with great finish at that. Give yourself a rest, put your money on someone else's loss.

MW's picture

Yet you felt compelled to respond. Could it be you recognize your own image in bondegnasker's sardonic comment?

sab's picture

I guess your comment could apply to everyone...

arkan's picture

and +1 for carlsen today

Thomas's picture

Maybe it's rather Vallejo being ignorant or less than mediocre?

valg321's picture

yes, i wish he'd stop doing that

Chris's picture

Carlsen is a class player.

icaroh's picture

Ok, it's a draw! Just prove it! If you are able to hold, then congrats, otherwise it's not a draw. I dislike other players going for long theoretical lines and agreeing fast draws. I don´t like Anand because he's never been a fighter. Chess needs more Carlsens or Topalovs (even Kramnik when he is in aggresive mood).

sen's picture

No one bothers whether you like anand or not.He is still the world champion.A normal person will understand that anand is not in the form for last 2 years(may be due to his personal reason like fatherhood,he still trying to balance his chess and personal life).You don't expect a person not in form to take risk,then probability of lossing his very high.Anand is playing sensible chess but cutting down risk down and also trying to find form without loosing games.It should be fine if he backs to full form just before next world championship and win the challenger. Please stop putting meaningless comments here.

icaroh's picture

I've never liked Anand style. It's not now. Am I killing anybody ?! It's just my point. I like Carlsen's style because he always play for a win until the very last consequences, as in the sixth round ... or the first. Anand has never played like him. He has fantastic games, but in general he has never been a chess fighter. Alekhine was, Fischer was, Kasparov was, Topalov and Carlsen are, but not Anand. He's the WCC and has all my respect, but I prefer other players.

john's picture

I can understand kid. To like Anand's style u need advance chess knowledge. Till then You can like Naka's style

Aris's picture

Many chess player like Anand becouse he has easy and understandable style, every amateur could understand he's moves.

icaroh's picture

Naka is just a tactician, I don´t like his play but he has the ... to press, this is what I like the most. For a pure style one MUST look at Kramnik, not Anand. (Anand beat Kramnik, but VK is the man who defeat the great Garry). Aronian is a wonderful player, but he wastes his talent playing by heart 30 moves of the Marshall and then draw. Sth. similar can be said about Anand.
Carlsen, Topalov, Kamsky, Wang Hao, Mamedyarov, Morozevich, McShane, Cheparinov, even Naka. Does anybody doubt if a tournament with these players can be boring ?
I prefer their non-pure style rather than watching how Anand, Kramnik and Aronian draw among them after steping out of the book.

Cyric Renner's picture

Add Gata Kamsky to that list. I love a player like that. Will fight to very end. Two lone kings is about the only time Kamsky will agree to a draw. I think Anand should have taken Kasparov's advise and retire.

sen's picture

your comment clearly shows how much immatured you are.You should have some sense when you compare the achievements of anand and others whom with you are comparing .Style of play doesn't stand in history , only number of titles will keep the player in chess history.Say after 200-300 years if top all time player is listed based on number of years titles holded,definetly anand name will figure in that list,defintely 99% of other players you are mentioning will not be there.History only talks about the great world champions not a player who is very agressive attacking player never been a champion.

icaroh's picture

Ok, now look at the board, my immaturity and Carlsen's. The day MC plays with the fear Anand did against GK, or defends his WCC as Anand did against BG, I will criticise him too.

foo's picture

For the first time I have seen a sensible defence of Anand based on logic. Well said Sen.

sab's picture

Chess needs more Topalovs?! Please...

MW's picture

Hahaha! Love it.

RealityCheck's picture


Actually, Carlsen never has been the (problem) issue. Its always been the hoard of Homo Erectus seating him on the throne before he's finished, if I may, his "ashes" work.

Already, he's missed two chances at that Crown.

1. He LOST his Candidates Match against Aronian.

>>>>CARLSEN tried but DID NOT QUALIFY for the World Championship Tournee at Mexico City <<<<<

2) He snibbled out of the 2013 Candidates Matches. Probably did what he was told to do by his manager.

3) Well, three strikes and you're out. We'll see how well he performs in next years Candidates Tournee.

Ricitos's picture

The only chance he missed was his first. However, Carlsen is the youngest player ever to have qualified for the candidates matches. He did so the year he was fifteen, although his match against Aronian did not take place until he was sixteen. The match was decided on the blitz tie-breaker. At the time, Aronian was rated fifth in the world. As a teenager, this was obviously a massive achievment.

In the next cycle, he quit because the rules were changed and his signed contract was broken mid-cycle.

I was not aware of this new three-strikes rule. So sad for Aronian and Radjabov. They could have done well.

Bert de Bruut's picture

Owned xD

RealityCheck's picture

@Ricitos Listen. I'll be blunt. He's had two chances to become a world champion contender. He botched both.
I'm not including the World Blitz and Rapid titles that he competed for and lost to Gritschuk and Karjakin.

I repeat, he lost the first candidates match to Aronian and he punked out of the 2013 qualifier. The reason he did not participate in Kazan is irrelevant.
BTW, if you haven't noticed, the Rules are changing all the time. Also, the Rules have been changed to accommodate Carlsen.
There is no new three-strikes and your out rule. It's a baseball metaphor. Some of us are bored w/ all the boxing, tennis, and soccer....

Anonymous's picture

@Reality Check, did you also conveniently not include his earlier blitz world champion title, the fact that he was only fifteen years when he lost that short match against Aronian (in blitz tie breaks only btw), ...., ...., ...., him being an unprecedented 2 years world highest ranked player at age 21, and so on, and so on.....?

Excuse me, but both tone and lack of sincerity (or rather information) of your rants strike me to an extent making it impossible to take them seriously. You are definitely not 'Reality' checking here, but unfoundedly demonstrating Anand fan-boyism.

RealityCheck's picture


No, I did not conveniently exclude the un-official blitz world championship title. I just highlighted the official FIDE Blitz and Rapid Titles.

So, what's age got to do with it?

Two years highest ranked player is nothing compared to Five World Championship titles.

BTW, who are you to question my tone of voice and sincerity? Robo Cop? Get a name.

As regards the (lack of) information left out of my comments: informed people who follow pro chess should be able to fill in the blanks.
I don't take seriously what you write because you are too feeble minded to even come up with a decent handle. Dint your momma name you?
Oh, I did notice how you guys tried to gang-tackle S3 yesterday. But, he held his own! Respect.

One of the more common tactics you fella's use to denounce a person who argues against the hype is to sound friendly and flood the gates with trivia. For example, you by bring up Carlsens age, his Elo record, the "short" match against Lev, the un-official blitz title. What's that got to do with the argument?


Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the funny reply dude, it's getting better by the minute ;-)!!!

First off, my condolences, if your "momma" named you "Reality Check". But seriously, even my curiosity has its limits. ;-))

It wasn't me who started bringing up Carlsen's achievements, but you did. Carlsen's current superiority over you hero world champion Anand is so overwhelmingly, breathtakingly obvious that filling in the blanks here is both, plain unnecessary and way too time consuming. It would take hours to live up to the task. ;-)

RealityCheck's picture
MW's picture

Aronian has a plus score against Anand and Carlsen has a plus score against Aronian.

Trying to prove who is best with one-on-one scores is really a hopeless method - at least when sample sizes are small. That is one reason we have ratings and why they are superior.

MW's picture

Way to tell him Reality Check.

Silly Anonymous. Don't you know that ratings mean nothing and what proves someone is best is whether they hold the FIDE championship title. Khalifman was clearly the world's best player in 1999 because he held the title then and Anand is clearly best now and has proven it yet again by beating the world's second best player (tm) Boris Gelfand.”

Get a clue man.

Anonymous's picture

Way to go. The world according to reality checkers.. Best is the player with the title, hmm yeah it must there for some reason, right? Chess "fans" don't have to worry anymore. Thank you guys.

abhi's picture

Dude...i feel you re really jeleous of carlsen....he s 21 and his ELO is well beyone 2840 at least respect him.....he s been on top of ELO charts more than 10 times....a feat neither Kasparov, fisher or anand can boast of. Give him some are blinded by your JELEOUSY....

RealityCheck's picture

@ abhi

......and you're blinded by your own ignorance. You should've read the comment before commenting on it. Its content was well beyond your comprehension.

Stating the raw truth is not disrespectful. And, no I am not jealous of Magnus Carlsen.

Anonymous's picture

Congratulations, your spelling of the word "jealousy" is flawless, sadly unlike your concept of "truth".

juanefren's picture

The day his opponents actually draw a clearly drawn position maybe?

Tom Servo's picture

Why don't you play him then? Oh that's right, you can't play him because you are a patzer! :)

juanefren's picture

That was a intended response to bondegnasker comment.

KingTal's picture

Carlsen is Carlsen, but it kinda disgusts me to look at Anand being satisfied with draws all the time.

Anonymous's picture

Dont't worry, Anand will eventually also lose a game. He has black against Carlsen in the penultimate round.

KingTal's picture

Haha, you are right, how could I forget that!

sen's picture

you might get fooled again.I don't think carlsen due to his past record against against will trythat extra bit. mostly carlsen will settle for draw if there is no clear advantage for him.Neither anand is attacking too much so i don't see he makes mistakes. infact carlsen might try bit more and might make a mistake and anand will win the game.

chill's picture

keep dreaming

sen's picture

will you stop commenting on anand forever if he doesn't loose his black game against carlsen ?

Anonymous's picture

No, because I like Anand. I will however start praising him if he can actually win a game again.

Tom Servo's picture

Who cares what disgusts a patzer like you? XD You are a nobody!

KingTal's picture

You seem to care a lot though reading your comment, lmao.

Tom Servo's picture

it took me 5 seconds to type that! How does that make imply care a lot? LOL O_O

KingTal's picture

By the content of your comment, man. And by the fact that you keep on replying on that. ;)


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